Sense and Sustainability
How to Save Money and Increase the Value of Your Home
350 billion, yes you read that correctly, BILLION, dollars is wasted each year on electricity! That is to say, there is that much excess energy expended, which could be saved, over and above the base energy necessary to run our homes and businesses. What if you could cut your personal waste and make your home more valuable and desirable for re-sale? Here we will review some easy upgrades that you can incorporate to do just that!
- Smart Thermostats: Instead of allowing your air conditioning and heat to run continually, there are now smart thermostats such as Nest and Eco Bee. These techie thermostats take into account, not only the inside, but also the outside, temperature and humidity. They also help manage hot and cold spots in your home. Switching to one of these smart thermostats can save you $240 year!
- Light Bulbs- Not just our thermostats have gotten smarter! Our light bulbs have joined in as well! The Philips Hue and LifX are two examples of these smart lights. They use an LED light bulb, which consumes 90% less energy than a traditional incandescent light bulb,and lasts 10 times longer. This has the potential to save you between $80-$120 per year! Here is a chart to compare the LED vs. Incandescent:
|Electricity Cost||$41.39 per year||$4.97 per year|
|Lifespan (continuous use)||1,250 Hours||50,000 Hours|
|Lifespan when used 12 hrs/day, 7 days/week||3 months, 13 days||11 Years, 4 months & 30 days|
|Wattage||75 Watt||9 Watts|
- Surge Protectors- Did you know that vampires are among us? Well ENERGY vampires at least! According to the US Department of Energy, vampire energy can consume as much as 10% of the monthly energy bill. That video game that you leave plugged in all the time? It is just sucking up energy! That microwave that constantly shows the time? That is an expensive, heavy clock, that happens to heat food. There are now electrical surge protectors such as the Belkin Conserve Switch that allow you to turn off multiple plugged in appliances, computers, video games, etc. , with a single wireless remote. This can save $60-$80 dollars per year.
- Washing Machines/ Dryers- Everyone has heard of Energy Star appliances by now, but the most money saving appliance, which we would recommend you invest in first, is the washer and dryer. There are a myriad of brands and models out there, so do your homework, but here is a government review of the most efficient machines. An efficient machine will use 25% less energy and can save you $75-125 year. (Hint: No matter what machine you have, use cool water as often as possible! Heating the water for your washing machine accounts for 90% of the total power used by the washer; so save hot water for the oil based stains!)
- Additional Tips- There are other little things that you can do to help boost your energy efficiency. Having air ducts professionally cleaned will allow your air conditioner to work more effectively and save money over time. Using your appliances after hours is another tip. Often your power company will offer discounted electricity after 8 PM. (You can call your provider to find out). Why not turn on your dishwasher or throw in a load of laundry right before bed? Lastly high efficiency faucet aerators are inexpensive (under $10 usually) and save tremendously on water consumption. These ingenious little contraptions cut use of water without sacrificing water pressure.
Whether you are looking to save money, trying to make your house more valuable to put it on the market, or are just incredibly eco-friendly, these are just a few of the things that we suggest to inexpensively create a more sustainable home!